In a digitized world where content bingeing is the norm, podcasts have become an essential medium. Unless you've been living under a rock, you already know that podcasts are a big deal at the moment, and they have been for quite a while. What was once regarded as a niche format with little chances of success has now turned into a worldwide phenomenon that shows no signs of stopping.
And indeed, it seems like everyone has jumped on the podcast bandwagon lately. Podcasts have found their way into every commuter's media mix. They became a common topic of conversation at every get-together. Big brands and independent content producers have fully embraced it, and advertisers followed suit.
If you don't believe your ears, consider the figures. According to a study conducted by Edison Research, more than one-third of Americans are listening to podcasts regularly, and podcasting awareness is on the rise - 75% of Americans are now familiar with podcasting. Long story short, podcasts are all the rage right now.
But how did this come to be, and why didn't anyone see it coming? Or did they? Let's take a quick journey through the gripping world of audio storytelling to find the answers.
The slow and steady rise of podcasts
Looking at things from the outside, it might seem like podcasts are the new kid on the block that just happened to stumble into the spotlight. But when you take a look under the covers, you'll find out that podcasts are not a new thing at all.
They have been here before famous social media giants like Facebook or YouTube came to prominence, and there has always been an interest in podcasts. However, the general audience was not aware of it. As major social media networks and streaming services fought for supremacy, podcasts continued to grow slowly but steadily in the shadows, building a loyal following until one day they became the talk of the town. And the rest is history.
The great equalizer
It might seem odd that in a day and age where short-form content is king, a long-form content medium is thriving. But there are good reasons for it. It has never been easier to create high-quality content that can reach large audiences. With some essential tools, almost anyone can create engaging podcasts.
There are plenty of resources on the internet that can help content creators bring a podcast to life, from tutorials to music for podcasts and other podcast building tools. You can record and edit content in your living room using inexpensive equipment and create an incredible show that will sweep the audiences off their feet. The low entry costs and accessibility make podcasts an appealing medium for any creative mind out there.
The multitasking hero
When you're running errands, commuting to work, doing your fitness routine, cooking, washing the dishes, walking the dog, or even when you're taking a shower, and you don't feel like listening to music or the crushing sound of silence, what do you do? You choose a podcast, hit play, and you go about your day. Podcasts are the trusted companion that can turn multitasking into something oh so pleasant.
Podcasts give you the possibility to learn new things and keep you entertained while you do other tasks. It's no wonder they've turned into intense competition for the traditional music playlist. They're perfect for binge consumption and less riddled with annoying ads, so the only issue one might have is trying to stop listening to them.
Mobility and accessibility
The tech world has already instilled in us a passion for all things mobile and on-demand content, so podcasts are just moving things to the next level. They provide an easy and convenient way to consume content anytime, anywhere. You can listen to them any time you want, no matter where you are, with no previous preparation required, as long as you have your smartphone with you. With more and more podcast-streaming apps being created, consumers are spoilt for choice. And the best thing yet is that you can find many great podcasts that are entirely free.
The perfect podcast doesn't exist... said no one ever. There are thousands of various podcasts out there on every subject under the sun, so there's something that will speak to you, quite literally. Podcasts come in all lengths and cover a wide variety of topics, making it virtually impossible not to find a podcast that will suit your tastes or needs.
From comedy shows to science, lifestyle, fashion, health, sports, tech, and so on, you name it, there's at least one good podcast about it. It's no surprise podcasts attract such a diverse audience with such varied interests.
An advertiser's dream
When listening to the radio or letting a YouTube video running in the background, many people switch unconsciously to auto-pilot mode and stop paying attention to what they hear. But when a podcast is on, they listen and focus on the information presented to them. And that's an advertiser's dream - an audience that will listen. Advertisers couldn't miss the opportunity to get into the mind and soul of so many consumers, so podcasts have also become a very effective marketing tool.
The benefits of podcasting for brands
Brands have always looked for new ways to engage with their customers and win them over. Using podcasts as part of the marketing strategy seems to be a brilliant move, with various benefits for businesses big and small.
● Reaching new audiences - carefully curated podcasts that prove beneficial for consumers can help businesses reach new audiences and increase their customer base.
● Building solid relationships - podcasts are considered a more personal and intimate medium, allowing brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level.
● Gaining trust and loyalty - that personal connection that podcasts create can help brands earn consumers' trust and loyalty, banking on transparency and authenticity.
● Measuring engagement - podcasts also allow companies to measure engagement through accurate data and statistics.